NCDC senior liquor licensing officer, Irish Boroba, and Moresby South inspector, Tom Kamtai, set off towards the Five-Mile settlement under police escort, armed with a checklist consisting of the name of liquor trading outlets and whether or not they were licensed. As explained by Boroba, they were updating their list from 2017, where notices were issued to outlets.
Residents were surprisingly welcoming during the first stopover where inspector Kamtai raised awareness on the illegal alcohol trade and the functions of the National Capital District Commission.
“NCDC em otoriti we em kontrolim siti,” he stated. (NCDC is an authority that controls the city.)
“Divolopment blo siti em NCDC kontrolim, na wanpla blo disla em lika laisens we NCDC kontrolim. (NCDC controls the city’s development, and part of that includes liquor licences.)
“Yu husat man yu gat stoa na yu tingting lo wokim mani tru lo bia, yu mas kam tru lo NCDC na yu kisim laisens. Mipla tasol mipla otoriti stap lo siti kontrolim lika laisens. Yu kisim laisens lo sampla kain hap stap, em yu yet yu rong nau. Lo ba kam na wokim save lo yu.” (If you have a store and you wish to make money through the sale of alcohol, you have to come through NCDC and get your licence. We are the only authority in the city that controls liquor licensing. If you get your licence from somewhere else then you are in the wrong. The law will deal with you.)
Five-Mile community leader, Buckley Dama, urged NCDC to limit the sale of alcohol in the settlements as they were tired of dealing with the same issues of drunkenness, noise pollution, harassment and petty crimes. He especially raised concern over the operating hours of the notorious 5-Mile White Haus.
“Mi sa toktok na kontrolim ol spak man na meri go na, mi tingim seifti blo ol meri, pikinini na sampla ol Kristen stap, sampla ol skul pikinini stap. Yupla ol otoritis, ating kontrolim disla White Haus.” (I try to control the drunk men and women as I am concerned about the safety of our women, children, some Christians and students here. You authorities need to control White Haus.)
From there, the inspectors started going from store to store, verifying whether the outlets are licensed or not, who the current owners are and further advised them of the requirements of the liquor licensing board and encouraged safe business practices.
Some of the outlets had fake certificates whilst most had no licence at all and under the watchful eyes of police personnel, were given notice to stop buying alcohol to resell, while the names of these illegal or black market traders will be shared with liquor distributors.
Senior liquor licensing officer, Boroba, explained that if these outlets still refuse to comply, they will work with police to ensure NCDC’s requirements are met.
When meeting with shopkeepers and owners, she explained that part of the liquor licensing process involves the approval of the physical planning and building boards. They will determine whether these interested applicants are located within residential areas and have met the building board’s requirement, among others.
Furthermore, the applications will be advertised by the liquor licensing board for the community to give their opinion on whether or not they want a liquor outlet to operate near them.
Meantime, a number of the illegal alcohol traders closed shop when they heard that NCDC and police were within the vicinity. The inspectors have alluded to more inspections and potential raids in the near future.
(Liquor licensing inspector – Moresby South, Tom Kamtai, conducting his inspection under police presence today)